A SUPER athlete with a big fighting heart.
That was the player Alaska coach Luigi Trillo sees in Calvin Abueva -- reason enough for the Aces to make the San Sebastian's undersized power forward the No. 2 pick overall pick in Sunday's PBA rookie draft.
Abueva, officially measured at 6-foot-1, is currently the NCAA’s most recognizable athlete as he led the college league is scoring (20.4 points per game), rebounding (17.4 rpg) and assists (6.8 apg) through the first nine games of the season -- a rare breed indeed.
“Calvin is such a guy that’s hard to pass up. I mean, he can dribble coast to coast, and it seems like he just doesn’t get tired. He’s got the swagger that (Alaska point guard) LA Tenorio has. But what’s more, he’s got a big heart, something you just can’t teach,” said Trillo of his prized rookie.
While the team will have to wait for Abueva to finish his commitment with the Stags, Trillo is already thinking of ways to maximize the seemingly boundless energy of the San Sebastian superstar.
That includes finding ways to tame the 'Beast' in Abueva.
“We know all about his tendency to get technical fouls, but that’s because he’s a guy with such immense energy, power and bump. However, we will try to explain to him that he will certainly get into a lot of physicality in the PBA. That’s something he really has to understand because we can’t afford to lose him in the game because he got thrown out,” added Trillo.
Also, Abueva has several veteran teammates such as Sonny Thoss, Gabby Espinas and Tenorio who can help him make the transition to the pros.
Since the departure of longtime head coach Tim Cone - architect of the franchise’s 13 league titles, including a rare Grand Slam in 1996 – at the end of the 2011 season, Alaska has fallen into hard times, posting an 11-24 win-loss record during the post-Cone era.
With Abueva around, Trillo hopes a renaissance is in order.